Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunny Days


Well Lookie Here!


That's a Mark Flood painting in the middle of that room!
Not that the jerks at Tribeza mentioned it.

CORE in 2008: Math Goes Out the Window

My favorite class in undergrad was a Graphic Design class. It was taught by a succession of professors who wore black and were obsessed with the Swiss International Style, which they would use to brutally repress all attempts at vernacular in a short lecture each day at the beginning of class. For the rest of the class they would alternately jump, glide, shout and whisper in front of the class usually in some boring outfit of all black, 'cause that's what graphic designers do. They were deeply in love with the Swiss International Style. They knew it inside and out, and because of their apathetic melancholy, their stultifying approach to teaching and sheer sarcastic entertainment value, they kicked me out of the class three separate semesters. I wish I could say that the CORE 2008 was as brutally patronizing as graphic communications, and a little less like Al Souza, the dude who ran a painting class and actually enjoyed it.

Most of the artists in this year’s show find themselves situated communicating with us and instead of behind a pulpit, they don't really seem to be teaching us. Teaching is bad for people. Unfortunately, when I left the show, I didn't feel a lot like I had just spent three hours of a beautiful Arizona Sunday morning in the Flagstaff Tabernacle listening to Floyd Patterson.

That paragraph was like huffing freon.

I kinda thought the show was entertaining, lively, and where it veered towards Vicodin downer formalism- the math was gone. Best of the mess was surely Mequitta Ahuja, who's uber-trippy women needed a little more room to breathe.

Two paintings on paper were obviously newer than a more wooden painting on canvas that was suffering the fate of the sun in the front room. The bulbous forms emerging from the mass of hair in Inseminated dripped down from a head in the top right corner of the paper. The two-panel Afro-Galaxy went the other way, exploring a sci-fi poster imaginary cosmos, with a fashionably 2007 bohemian hipster attached to the bottom left.



Andres Janacua

Most of Andres Janacua's stuff is really oblique, but he's not a conceptual fuckwad. At least he does social interventions and fucks around and goes and sets up a gallery in a small town in Mexico when he doesn't have to present things in a glorified hallway. His video was rather horrible, though. Taking out vowels, huh. I didn't know that, but I didn't spend too much time on it.

Janacua isn't really fucking with you all that much. Michael Bise said that it said social seduction, but I don't remember that. As opposed to Sergio Torres-Torres' tone in his sarcastic paintings, I'd prefer the pathetic tinfoil whimper-style note of resistance. Speaking of, the whole hip meaning embedded in T-T's paintings is kind of a run-around since he glorifies the revolutionary (and negative) aspects of the LA early-90s riots right next to the sarcastic 'revolution blows' paintings.

Sergio Torres-Torres is not easy to confuse with...

Raymond Pettibon, who draws differently.

Kara Hearn has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. She used to do youtube videos where she aped scenes from old movies. They were funny until Jack Black did it on the big screen in Be Kind Rewind. It's a bitch. Now she's making people cry.

The little cove Hearn made was a grey corner with bumpy taped edges and matching wooden chairs. I turned up the volume to watch Cara McCormick try to cry. After a lot of trying she laughed "I can't cry!" and the high volume sent guards scuttling from the rafters to check it out.

I'm glad I wasn't sitting there any more when they got there.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


New Coagula


I'll drop off a stack of vicious art writing from LA at the Menil Bookstore this afternoon,
pick one up!

What'cha Doin' Tonight?

This guy looks crazy as hell...

Karim Rashid

Design Life Now Lecture

Thursday, March 27
7:00 p.m.

Karim Rashid, a leading figure in the field of product, interior, fashion, furniture, lighting design and art is featured in the second and final evening of the Design Life Now: National Design Triennial Lecture Series. The lecture will be held in the MFAH's Brown Auditorium.

Maybe Karim Rashid, maybe Pixies covers at 2020 Commerce... but definitely a minute on the 4th floor with Jeanne...

Miguel Angel Rojas, David 2
@ Sicardi Gallery

Sicardi already has installation shots up from the other opening tonight- check it out HERE.

Screwston's Wild Ride

Via The American, "A Magazine of Ideas" comes THIS laundry list of reasons for Houston's ascension to national- no, international- prominence in the next decades. Joel Kotkin's assertions seem to fit into place beautifully, if only on paper.

Stumbling through a depressing history of the burg's reasons for failure, Kotkin reaches for Chicago's history to justify Houston's continued crap-ass reputation. "Chicago, the great growth city of the late 19th century, whose trajectory most resembles Houston’s, left many early visitors unimpressed. ...Aesthetically pleasing the city was not; Chicago, a Swedish visitor commented in 1850, was “one of the most miserable and ugly cities” in the United States."

It is also true that Paris was once a mess of medieval streets and hovels wallowing in swampy mud- but it wasn't the shittiness of the city that helped it grow- it was strong civic leadership (and/or dictatorship) that plowed through unsanitary conditions and dens of inequity to mold such messy metropolises into respectable destinations.

Quoting Rice professor Stephen Klineberg sounds like brutal Ayn Rand; “if they work hard, they can succeed here.”

Continuing the capitalist blindness Kotkin off-handedly remarks "[a]nother of Houston’s advantages is its history of tolerance"; by taking the macro approach to the situation (ie not doing his research) Kotkin can see that the lack of race riots means Houstonians were more tolerant than other areas of the country. The converse (and more likely scenario) is that brutal racial oppression kept popular movements from gaining traction during the Civil Rights Era. Check out a couple of stories on this tip HERE.

Now I can tell that no one really gives a shit since our recent poll indicates exactly 0% of the populous wants more Houston news- but it's good for ya!

ps- perhaps the “[Houston-] with a residential section mostly ugly and barren—a city without a single good restaurant.” quote from 1947 is the best spur for our fine, sprawling, humid, polluted, concrete, capitalist, corrupt, green and purple city of syrup.

Chicago Likes Beer, Houston Beer

The much-loved Beer Can House shows Houston's funky side

John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad,
started his project now known as the Beer Can House in 1968.

Call it creative recycling. Or folk art. Or one man's crazy obsession. Maybe Houston's Beer Can House is all of these things, and maybe that's why the newly restored landmark appeals to so many people.

The Beer Can House is pretty much what it sounds like: a house covered in beer cans. It's also a good example of the free-spirited, creative side of the country's fourth-largest city -- a city known more for its energy industry than its eccentricities. But along with cowboys, Houston has its share of characters. And the man behind the Beer Can House definitely fell in the latter camp.


When a quarter-million people turn out to gawk at goofy-looking cars [Art Car Parade May 10th], you know you're in a place that celebrates creativity and individuality with a little kookiness to boot. No wonder Milkovisch's Beer Can House is such a hit.

"Here you have this one man, an average Joe, who created his own little wonderland," Bridges said. "It's a very Houston thing. There aren't a lot of towns where you could away with what he did."

via Chicago Sun-Times

Bigger, Bigger, Better?

Four Texas metropolitan areas were among the biggest population gainers as Americans continued their trend of moving to the Sun Belt in 2006 and 2007, according to Census Bureau estimates to be released Thursday.

Dallas-Fort Worth added more than 162,000 residents between July 2006 and July 2007, more than any other metro area. Three other Texas areas -- Houston, Austin and San Antonio -- also cracked the top 10.

According to figures compiled by Eschbach, 16 percent of Americans who moved to other states between July 2006 and July 2007 came to Texas, which led the nation for the second straight year in that category.

Ann Sekesan, a pharmacy technician, moved her family from Pennsylvania to suburban Fort Worth last June after seeing spacious homes in Texas for under $200,000 on a television show.

"After we saw that on TV, my husband and I looked at each other and said, 'Have you ever been to Texas?" Sekesan said. "It's amazing the size of a home you can get down here. It's just incredible."

via Yahoo Finance

Pixies and Jams


via heisfauxpas

YOUNG MAMMALS (cover Pixies songs)
y mas.....

2220 Commerce (right across the street from Bootleg)

Turn right on Commerce
Go over railroad tracks

ERIN'S BIRTHDAY WAREHOUSE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




signed- JC (not that JC)

Down Dagger Flats: Photo Essay

taken with a cheap plastic
German camera from the 80s
February 29th, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Down Souf, Out West

After 24 hours in Marfa it was on to Big Bend National Park. We took the scenic route down 67 past a border checkpoint to Presidio, a border town of winding streets, cheap concrete buildings and the ruins of a previous boom and bust.

Traveling east along the border we wound around and through Big Bend State Park, which is certainly as beautiful as the more renown National Park. A local joke is that Texas bought the land for Big Bend to give to the federals so Texas could have a national park. There was no lack of potential vistas to choose from.

On the small stretch between the two parks is Terlingua, a little scrap of dust and summer homes known for "Old Terlingua Ghost Town"; eight buildings jammed together as the best tourist trap they could muster. Coming from the other direction, a couple of Terligua cops decided the look of our long-haired hippie driver was too much to not pass up and promptly pulled in front of us across the highway.

Sons of bitches could have really fucked up if we didn't immediately pull off the road. The worst part was their insistence that they had caught us "going 59 in a 50" when they were coming straight for us on the freeway. I'll call bullshit on that any day.

After a requisite ball-busting they issued us all tickets for half-assed infractions- speeding through "This won't go on your record, this won't affect your ability to get a job, just mail it in and you won't have to come back for a court appearance." Their weariness was as cheap as the Xerox list of "prices" for tickets that they shoved at us as they repeated their mantra for each of us separated by ten feet along the dusty ditch.

Beautiful place to stop and have a moment to think though. Not really worth the hundred dollar a head drive-thru tax.

Nice view. Bad company.

Cheezy Terlingua Teepee

Into the park and up to Panther Junction. We could see the Chisos mountains rise to the south and the ridge along the Rio Grande in the distance. The Chihuahuan desert stretched out to the north. After talking with Libby, a Yankee working in the middle of the Texas desert on a park service transfer, we decided not to take her pleading best advise to use an actual campsite. The backcountry pass we were issued covered about 30 square miles in the northeastern part of the park along the Sierra del Caballo Muerto (Ridge of Dead Horses).

The radio dial went all the way around without a station.

The desolate landscape of the Chihuahuan desert grew more sparse as we descended into the basin. Cacti and scrub brush disappeared, leaving small yucca plants and perma-dry bushes to populate the rocky soil. Turning onto a dirt road with trepidation, we headed toward Dagger Flats, a micro-ecosystem of Giant Dagger Yucca, some reaching 6-8 feet tall with a trunk like an oil drum.

Now, Dale may be a smart guy. He definitely convinced us to go back to Cu when it looked like it sucked and that counts for something. He also has a job that he is presumably good at. Unfortunately he began the trip with a mashed windshield due to cell phone driving and a low-hanging branch on his own block back in Houston. Now, you can still drive with a hell of a lot of cracks in your windshield. You can't drive with two flat tires though- and you sure as shit shouldn't get two flat tires in the middle of nowhere driving to a place called Dagger Flats along the Ridge of Dead Horses. As we waited at the end of the trail for a good hour we pontificated on the possible results of an off-road excursion in such a god-forsaken place. Broken axle? Flipped Jeep? Caught on a rock? At least when we could see them drive up before the sun set we knew we weren't totally fucked.

We set up camp on the other edge of a thicket composed of several types of thorned dry bushes, yucca and minuscule cacti. Everything reached out to scratch you. They wanted blood.

A wide arroyo opened up on the other side of the thicket, leaving a boulevard strewn with petrified wood through the canyon. Lined with a forest of yucca, the surreal foliage is unique in the whole of the earth. Confined to one specific location, giants were created by their isolation, evolving over a thousand years.

The night would come...